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Who’s Driving Downtown Manhattan’s Weekend Revival?

Lila Margalit
October 17, 2023
Who’s Driving Downtown Manhattan’s Weekend Revival?

Downtown Manhattan is experiencing a weekend revival. On Mondays through Thursdays – the heart of the work week – foot traffic in the area remains significantly below pre-COVID levels. But on Fridays, visits begin to pick up – and on Saturdays and Sundays some downtown neighborhoods are even busier than they were four years ago. Destinations like Greenwich Village, East and West Village, and the Lower East Side drew more weekend visitors in Q4 2023 than they did in the equivalent period of 2019. 

But who’s driving Downtown Manhattan’s accelerated weekend recovery? What are the demographic and psychographic attributes of the people that are flocking to downtown’s historic neighborhoods on Saturdays and Sundays? And how do they differ from Downtown Manhattan’s weekday visitors? We dove into the data to find out – analyzing visits by domestic non-resident visitors, to geofenced points of interest (POIs) corresponding to each of the various areas and neighborhoods. 

Downtown’s Weekend Income Bump

To better understand the characteristics of Saturday and Sunday visitors to downtown New York, we analyzed the captured markets of Lower Manhattan and its various neighborhoods with demographic data from STI: Popstats

Overall, visitors to Downtown Manhattan over the past 12 months (October 2022 - September 2023) tended to come from areas with higher median household incomes (HHIs) than visitors to Manhattan as a whole. And although weekend visitors both to Manhattan as a whole and to Downtown Manhattan hailed from more affluent areas than weekday ones – the weekend income bump was particularly pronounced in Downtown Manhattan. 

Still, drilling down into the data for several prominent Downtown Manhattan neighborhoods shows considerable variance between areas. During the week, for example, the median HHI of Greenwich Village’s captured market was the highest of the analyzed neighborhoods – coming in at a whopping $103.7K. But Greenwich Village’s weekend affluence bump was much more muted than that of other districts. And the West Village emerged as the neighborhood with the highest income captured market on Saturdays and Sundays. 

College Kids and Retirees

The demographic and psychographic characteristics of Downtown Manhattan’s neighborhoods changed in other ways on the weekends as well. The already-outsize share of college students in the downtown neighborhoods’ captured markets climbed even higher, as many collegians likely converged on the area to enjoy what its historic neighborhoods have to offer. Several of the neighborhoods also drew an increased share of “destination retirees” – an older demographic made up of affluent empty-nesters making the most of their golden years. 

At the same time, the share of households with children in the captured markets of the analyzed downtown neighborhoods – which tended to be on the low side during the work week – decreased slightly in most areas on Saturdays and Sundays.

Key Takeaways

Downtown Manhattan – with its many restaurants, shops, and cultural institutions – is coming alive on the weekends. And understanding the characteristics and habits of the people behind this remarkable recovery can help local businesses and other stakeholders make the most of this opportunity. How will visit patterns to downtown NYC continue to evolve as the holiday season approaches and 2023 draws to a close? 

Follow’s data-driven location intelligence analyses to find out. 

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